Boots & Sabers

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1621, 03 Jan 18

Brown County Sued over Illegal Sales Tax

Well, well… it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

January 3, 2018 – Milwaukee, WI – Yesterday, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed suit against Brown County in state court, alleging that the County’s new Sales and Use Tax violates state law. The lawsuit is on behalf of the Brown County Taxpayers Association and a resident of Brown County, and also names the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue as a Defendant.

On May 17, 2017, the Brown County Board of Supervisors enacted an ordinance creating a 0.5% sales and use tax intended to go into effect on January 1, 2018.  The tax will fund $147 million in spending on projects like a new STEM center, library projects, road works, and museum exhibits.  Based on the County’s 2018 budget, the tax will raise over $22 million and spend close to $18 million in 2018 alone.

Although Wisconsin law permits counties to impose a “sales and use tax” of 0.5%, such a tax may only be imposed to reduce the existing property tax levy imposed by the County.  Brown County’s Sales Tax is not being used to reduce its property tax levy but is instead being used to evade the County’s levy limit and is therefore void and unenforceable.

Good for WILL for going after this.


1621, 03 January 2018


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